Tuesday Night Draft Update

Posted: April 9th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 40 Comments »

I’m mentioned the Eagles showing interest in Canadian OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. Apparently they are more than casually interested in him.

Let’s keep a few things in mind. Just because teams are interested doesn’t mean he’s an early target. This feels a little like Todd Herremans when he was coming out. Todd played in a D-2 all star game and that got the attention of some scouts and coaches. He had something like 20 teams at his Pro Day, even some OL coaches. Todd still went in the 4th round.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is raw. He’ll need some time to develop. The interest in him is due to the fact he’s got a good frame and is naturally athletic. He has good feet. Check out his Pro Day results:

At his pro day, Duvernay-Tardif ran the 40 in 4.94 and 5.08 seconds. He had a 31 1/2-inch vertical and a 9-6 broad jump. He ran the three-cone drill in 7.30 seconds and had 33 bench-press reps. Duvernay-Tardif was not at the combine, but those numbers were as good as any offensive linemen there, including Taylor Lewan. I would imagine that a team will take a chance on him around the sixth or seventh round and hope to turn him into an NFL player

Some will try to compare LDT to Danny Watkins. I’ve been guilty of making the jokes myself, but they really are very different guys. LDT has a better frame and more athletic ability.

Watkins – 6-3, 310
5.36 in the 40
VJ – 26 inches
BJ – 7’8″
3-cone – 7.61

Watkins was a more physically dominant run blocker, but you can see he’s shorter, slower, less agile and less explosive. Neither guy was a lifetime football player. Both came to the sport at a late age. LDT is a medical student so we know he is smart and willing to grind away learning complex subjects.

Here is LDT’s Pro Day workout.

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FOXSports.com is reporting that Marqis Lee will be visiting Philly. This makes total sense. Lee is a terrific WR prospect and should be a 1st round pick. I would rank him 3rd among WRs, behind only Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans.

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Chip Kelly was in State College checking out WR Allen Robinson and other PSU prospects on Tuesday. On Wednesday he should be down at LSU for their Pro Day. The focus could be on WR Odell Beckham.

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Lots of Draft News

Posted: April 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 144 Comments »

There are a lot of little things to get to in regard to the Eagles and the draft so lets get started.

WR Kelvin Benjamin was at the NovaCare Complex today for a pre-draft visit. Some of you will love this news. Not me. I’m not Benjamin’s biggest fan, as I covered here. Just because I don’t like him doesn’t mean the Eagles agree. Bringing him in means one of two things…the Eagles have serious interest in Benjamin or they want people to think they do.

One thing we do know is that the Eagles have serious interest in adding a big WR. They already brought in Mike Evans, another huge target. Cody Latimer visited Philly on Monday as well. He’s got good size at 6-2, 215. Bob Bicknell was at Donte Moncrief’s Pro Day. He’s not huge, but is a big receiver. Chip Kelly was at Jordan Matthews’ Pro Day. Matthews is 6-3, 212.

And then check out this nugget from today.

Coleman is another big kid. He goes 6-6, 225.

Noticing a trend? The Eagles are serious about getting bigger at WR. You wouldn’t check out all these guys as part of a smokescreen. One or two of them might be smokescreens, but the overall trend can’t be ignored.

About the players…I hope the Eagles don’t see Benjamin as a 1st rounder. I just don’t think he’s athletic enough for a high pick. Again, the Eagles might disagree. Kelly is fascinated by uniquely big players (Clifton Geathers, Ifeanyi Momah). Benjamin at 6-5, 240 is a monstrous WR.

Kelly might see Benjamin as a great fit for the offense. He gained a ton of RAC yards at FSU. I question whether that will translate to the NFL, but Kelly could think so.

I’ll do a write-up on Latimer at some point, but he is a good prospect. He could go as early as the 2nd round or as late as the 4th. Latimer has size, speed and production. He fits just about any offense with his skill set.

One note here. Some of you get indignant when there is talk of a receiver falling. This is one of the most talented sets of receiver prospects in draft history. There are a ton of good players. Some will fall. We know Sammy Watkins is a 1st rounder. We’re 90 percent sure Mike Evans is as well. After that, nothing is set in stone. Don’t get offended if someone mentions a player possibly sliding. There will be surprises on draft weekend.

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The Eagles had CB Aaron Colvin in for a visit. He tore his ACL at the Senior Bowl. The Eagles were showing interest in him that week. I could see the Eagles bringing him to town to get a medical update so they know where to value him in the draft and whether he’s worth taking a risk on at all.

Taking a player with an ACL injury is a gamble. The Eagles tried that with Cornelius Ingram and Jack Ikegwuonu. Both failed. That doesn’t mean you never try again. Each case is different than the others. You must find out the seriousness of the injury and then how well it was repaired. If the ACL tear was reasonable and the surgery good, there is every reason to expect a recovery. Ingram got crappy surgery. Ikegwuonu had a terrible tear.

I don’t know where Colvin will go, or if he’s worth the risk.

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The Eagles looking into a Canadian OL…what could go wrong? This guy wouldn’t be an early pick. He could be the kind of player the team would like to develop behind the current starters.

And the Eagles have had at least one good Canadian OL. Mike Schad played here 20 years ago. He was from Belleville, Ontario.

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The Corner Situation

Posted: April 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 101 Comments »

Some people feel the Eagles are now set at CB. They have starters Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher returning. They added Nolan Carroll in free agency. Brandon Boykin is already one of the better slot guys in the league. And Roc Carmichael is still a young guy in the mix. To some, that group seems pretty set.

I’m not in that category.

Let’s start with the incumbents. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher are not good CBs. I would describe them as being effective starters. They can have good games. When officials let them get away with a bit of contact, the duo is much more effective. There are times when the duo will struggle and give up some plays. I don’t think you can ever be comfortable with marginal starters. 

There are other factors. Williams will turn 30 in December so he’s got that working against him. Fletcher has durability issues. He missed 3 games last year and has had major injuries in the past. 

I do agree that adding Nolan Carroll was a good move and makes me more comfortable with the depth on the outside. Still, it isn’t as if he’s some shutdown corner.

The subject of Brandon Boykin is complicated. He is a very talented player and is coming off a good season. Boykin has the potential to be a great nickelback. Will the Eagles ever move him outside on a full time basis? I don’t know. Some argue that they’ll have to when he’s going for his second contract. If not, he’ll leave. That makes a lot of sense, but I’m not sure the Eagles want him outside. Bill Davis tends to prefer big CBs who can re-direct receivers as they release off the ball. Boykin is only 5-9, 183. That’s small for a corner.

I guess we’ll find out how the Eagles feel about him moving outside when we see if they go for a CB early in this draft. If they don’t, maybe the team does see him moving there in the future. I’ve got my doubts.

As to Carmichael…he’s a non-factor at this point. He showed very little last year. He wasn’t some awful player that looked hopeless, but he didn’t impress me. We can hope he does well this summer, but you sure don’t count on him.

This is the time to draft a CB. Get one and let him sit and learn for a season. Williams is a smart, veteran player. I’m sure the young guy could learn from him. You always prefer the ability to work a guy into the lineup rather than having to throw him out there from Day One.

I’m not saying the Eagles must go get a CB in the 1st round. I do think they can go for one that early if the right guy is on the board. I don’t mind having the guy sit. Lito and Sheldon sat as rookies and both turned into very good players.

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The Eagles have LB Jordan Tripp from Montana in for a visit today. What I’m curious about is if they see him as an OLB or ILB.

Tripp is 6-3, 243. He is listed by most as an OLB, but I think that is in the 4-3. He had 9 sacks in college so clearly he wasn’t used as a primary pass rusher. He is good in coverage.

The Eagles could see him as a backup to Connor Barwin or they could see him as someone for the inside. DeMeco Ryans isn’t a long term answer at ILB. Tripp would be someone to draft and develop for the future. The Eagles do have Jake Knott, Najee Goode and Emmanuel Acho there now. If they spend a mid-round pick on Tripp, that could tell you that the team isn’t that high on the guys already there.

Per Elliot Shorr-Parks, the Eagles have already shown serious interest in Tripp. They met with him at the Combine and also sent a key guy to his Pro Day.

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Some Draft Q&A

Posted: April 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 38 Comments »

You guys have been asking a lot of questions in regard to the draft and prospects. Let me try to answer a few.

Will the Eagles move up or move back from pick 22?

I think the Eagles would like to add more picks so moving back makes more sense. That said, if the right player falls, I think the Eagles would consider moving up. Who might be the kind of guys the team would go up for? LB Anthony Barr could be one. WR Mike Evans could be one. I wonder if TE Eric Ebron could be one. I know the Eagles have Brent Celek and Zach Ertz already, but Ebron would be one heck of an offensive weapon to add to the mix. He’s not your normal TE.

If the Eagles do move up, I think it would only be a few spots. They won’t want to give up a lot. As for moving back, they could go late 1st or even early 2nd.

Do you prefer Beckham vs Cooks?

I like Beckham quite a bit, but I’m still doing my research on Cooks. Jimmy Bama is very high on Cooks. so naturally that concerns me. Both guys are really good and the Eagles would be lucky to add either player.

Talk about big WRs.

Not all big WRs are the same. Mike Evans is 6-5, 231 and Kelvin Benjamin is 6-5, 240, but they are very different players. Evans is going to be a very high pick because he’s got athletic ability to go with his size. Benjamin is a marginal athlete. I don’t know who to compare Evans to. He’s not as special as Calvin Johnson. I don’t like him as much as I did Plaxico Burress. But Evans is pretty darn good.

The Eagles have one big WR right now. Riley Cooper is 6-3, 222. Obviously that pales in comparison to the kind of size Evans has.

While I do think Chip Kelly prefers big WRs, I don’t think he would have a problem with taking average sized players like Cooks or Beckham. If someone is really talented, Kelly is likely to look beyond size. If 2 players are equal, he’ll probably go for the bigger one.

Should the Eagles target defense early and then go for offense?

That sounds good in theory, but I do believe in the Best Player Available theory. The Eagles need more help on defense, but if better offensive players are available, take them.

Do you prefer Attaochu or Van Noy as 2nd round targets?

Different players. Attaochu would be here to play ROLB. I think Van Noy is better suited to playing ILB in the 3-4. I just don’t think he’s a dynamic enough pass rusher to play outside. I like him quite a bit, but think he’s more of a complete LB than just a pass rusher. Of the 2, I prefer Attaochu.

Is Bryce Brown trade bait?

I doubt it. Here’s the problem. Brown has big time ability, but as a RB coming off a mediocre year he would have little value. I’m not trading a talented player like Brown for just a 7th rounder. Brown has 2 years left on his rookie contract. The Eagles need to see if he can become a key player or if he can develop into a tradeable asset.

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Who The Eagles Are Checking Out

Posted: April 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 76 Comments »

The Eagles have been meeting with and checking up on a lot of players in the last month. Let’s take a look at who they are and why the team might like them or at least want to check up on them. This will get updated over the course of the next month. And let me know if I’ve missed anyone.

PLAYERS THAT HAVE VISITED PHILLY

* S Deone Bucannon – Washington State – 6-1, 216

The Eagles could use a big, physical presence in the secondary. That’s Bucannon’s specialty. Could be a 2nd round target.

* WR Mike Evans – Texas A&M – 6-5, 231

Most expect Evans to go Top 10 or close to that. My guess is that the Eagles would have interest in trading up for him if he fell in the 15 range and was affordable.

* DE Taylor Hart – Oregon – 6-6, 284

The Eagles need depth at DE. You can’t count on Joe Kruger. Hart is big and athletic. He could be an excellent backup.

* OG Trey Hopkins – Texas – 6-3, 305

An overlooked player that is starting to get some attention. The Browns are bringing him in for a visit. Good run blocker.

* WR Cody Latimer – Indiana – 6-2, 215

Junior WR had a great season (72-1096-9). Played in one of the fastest offenses in the nation, so it makes sense that the Eagles have some interest in him. Excellent size/speed prospect who could be good value in the 3rd round or great value in the 4th.

* CB Jaylen Watkins – Florida – 6-0, 194

The least known of Florida’s 3 DB prospects entering the season is now going to be the first one drafted. Watkins was very good at the Senior Bowl and then stood out at the UF Pro Day.

PRO DAYS / WORKOUTS

* LB Jeremiah Attaochu – Georgia Tech – 6-3, 252

The Eagles saw Attaochu at the Senior Bowl, but he wasn’t able to work out at the Combine due to a torn hamstring. The Eagles are set to work him out in the next couple of weeks. I don’t think Attaochu is in play at pick 22, but if the team moves back, he could be of interest. I’d love to get him in the 2nd round, but I’m just not sure he is going to fall that far. I’m a big fan and would love to see the Eagles land him. Attaochu is a good athlete, but he’s also a physical, violent player.

* TE Asante Cleveland – Miami – 6-4, 260

Who? Cleveland caught all of 14 passes in his Miami career. This is a weak TE class so the Eagles are probably trying to find some UDFA targets. Miami has been a TE factory over the years so that’s a good place to look, even for a lesser talent. Here’s the note.

Tight end Asante Cleveland looked good, according to an NFL official in attendance. Cleveland met with Eagles officials Tuesday and has a visit scheduled with Arizona.

* QB Garrett Gilbert – SMU – 6-4, 221

QB Coach Bill Musgrave went to SMU to watch Gilbert work out. Gilbert is the son of an NFL QB. His dad Gale was a backup for Buffalo during their glory days. Gilbert began his career at Texas before going on to SMU. Gilbert was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school and we know the Eagles like to take chances on those guys if they fall in the draft (see Bryce Brown).

QB would seem to be set with Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley, but you never know when a player you really like is going to fall to a spot where he is just too good to pass up. We don’t know if they like Gilbert, but they are at least curious.

* Tennessee OL

The Vols are loaded with OL prospects this year. None are super-talented and guys that will go early, but they do have multiple players that will get drafted. Here’s the note of interest.

Most of the attention during pro day was on Antonio Richardson, Ja’Wuan James, James Stone, Zach Fulton and Alex Bullard who made up the Volunteers’ offensive line last year. All have the possibility of being drafted this year especially Antonio Richardson, who is projected to go in the first or second round while Ja’Wuan James has the possibility of going in the second round. Richardson made a few mental errors in the position drills and he was pushed harder by the scouts than any other player. Richardson said that there are about 16 teams that have contacted him.

Regardless, he did show why he is projected to go so high in this year’s draft in his performance. “I tried to show the scouts that I was healthy and that I have my explosiveness back.” Richardson said. “You don’t really know anything until draft day though, it’s hard to see who’s showing me more interest than others.” Ja’Wuan James agreed with Richardson in that you have no idea what the scouts could be thinking. “It’s weird not getting feedback from coaches right away. I came out to show that I can fit any scheme and that I’m a versatile lineman.”

Offensive line coaches Tom Cable from the Seattle Seahawks and George Yarno from the Jacksonville Jaguars worked the offensive lineman hard, putting them through multiple tough drills and were obviously thinking hard about drafting one of the five. All eyes were on the lineman today, but after almost an hour, only representatives from the Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Jets were left watching and talking to the lineman at the end of their workout.

The Eagles need depth on the OL so it makes total sense for them to be checking on the Vols. No word on if they were focused on one particular player.

* OG Trai Turner – LSU – 6-3, 310

The Eagles met with him at the Combine. Here’s what he noted.

“I never had a specific favorite team. It was a blessing to be there. San Francisco was my most intense meeting, the questions they asked. You are only in the room for 15 minutes, it’s rapid-fire. They talked about (former Tiger) Eric Reid and what a high-character guy he was.

“I was in a meeting with the Jets going over my film. One of the coaches said, ‘Dang, you like to hit people, don’t you?’ I said ‘Yeah’, and the coach said, ‘Well, don’t hit me.’

“Some were funny and some were intense. The Eagles asked me a lot about Coach Miles, what kind of guy he was, what did he do at practice, game rituals.

Interesting that the Eagles were picking his brain about Coach Miles. My guess is that they were trying to see what Turner thought of Miles and how he did things. Chip Kelly is a unique and demanding coach. If a prospect didn’t handle tough coaching well at the college level, he’s not likely to fit into Kelly’s program.

* OL Laurent Durvernay-Tardiff – McGill – 6-5, 300

The Eagles were one of a handful of teams at his Pro Day. The Canadian prospect played at the Shrine Game and opened some eyes down there.

* Washington’s Pro Day

The Eagles were there. The players they were most likely focused on were QB Keith Price (UDFA), TE Austin Sefarian-Jenkins (Day 2) and RB Bishop Sankey (Day 2). Safety Sean Parker had a poor workout and measured in smaller than expected.

* Utah State’s Pro Day

The Eagles were there, most likely checking out CB Nevin Lawson and CB Tay Glover-Wright. Both guys ran well. Lawson is the better of the duo and the Eagles have already seen him at all star games.

Missouri’s Pro Day

Chip Kelly went there himself. I’m sure he was checking out DE/LBs Kony Ealy and Michael Sam. I don’t like either guy for the Eagles. I don’t think they are athletic enough for OLB. While both guys struggled at the Combine, Ealy looked much better at his Pro Day. If Kelly wants a big body for ROLB, maybe Ealy is a legit target.

* Virginia Tech’s Pro Day

Fuller would make a ton of sense. Bill Davis introduced Fuller to Chip Kelly. That’s interesting. I’m sure Davis and Kelly were also checking out OLB James Gayle and DB Antone Exum. Kelly might have taken a gander at QB Logan Thomas. He reportedly had a strong workout, which makes total sense. Thomas is physically gifted. He just doesn’t play well in games. Some think Thomas is worth trying to develop. I think I’d only touch him as a TE prospect.

* RB Jerick McKinnon – Georgia Southern – 5-9, 209

Here’s a note from Tony Pauline.

Lavelle Westbrooks and Jerick McKinnon were the focus of pro-day attention at Georgia Southern.

Westbrooks ran the forty in similar times to his combine performance. The players ran on grass, and most had Westbrooks clocked at 4.65s, though some watches did read 4.60s. He did a solid job in drills, but most scouts feel Westbrooks will be a last-day/late-round pick.

McKinnon stood on his combine numbers and looked good in both defensive back and running back drills. He was fluid, smooth and for the most part looked natural in the secondary. Westbrooks played some DB early in his GSU career.

The Dallas Cowboys ran the secondary drills while the Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders headed the running back drills.

Sending Duce Staley to run a prospect through drills shows more than mild interest, especially since the Eagles saw McKinnon at the Senior Bowl.

* DE/LB Will Clarke – West Virginia – 6-7, 270

Another nugget from Tony Pauline.

In a bit of a surprise, Will Clarke was put through an extensive battery of linebacker drills by the Philadelphia Eagles. And though most have Clarke pegged as a defensive end, from all accounts he looked real good working out at the new position.

Clarke is a real interesting guy. He is huge and a good athlete. WV played him at DT and DE. I don’t think he is consistently physical enough to be a 2-gap DE for the Eagles, but I hadn’t considered trying him at OLB. He was very good at the Shrine Game when lining up out wide and rushing off the edge.

* NT Zach Kerr – Delaware – 6-1, 323

Pauline noted that Jerry Azzinaro went down to Delaware to attend Kerr’s Pro Day. That’s not a long trip so we can’t make too much of it, but the Eagles do need depth at NT. And Kerr was at the Combine so he is a legit prospect.

* LB Scott Crichton – Oregon State – 6-3, 273

Pauline again.

Scott Crichton sat on his combine numbers, running only the 60-yd shuttle. He did both linebacker and defensive end drills, and I’m told he did a lot of linebacker drills. The Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts worked Crichton through the battery of linebacker drills and the 270-lb athlete looked exceptional, easily changing direction and effortlessly moving around the field.

Obviously Kelly is going to be familiar with Crichton from his Oregon days. Kelly may have tried to recruit Crichton. He did have to coach against him.

 * Florida State’s Pro Day

Chip Kelly was down there to check out the Noles in action. Too many guys to list. I hope he focused on S Lamarcus Joyner and ILB Christian Jones. I’m sure he watched WR Kelvin Benjamin closely as well.

* Ohio State’s Pro Day

Kelly on the prowl again. And too many guys to list them all. The biggest names would be CB Bradley Roby, who could be a target at pick 22, and ILB Ryan Shazier, who also could be in play there.

* Lousiville’s Pro Day

Kelly was on hand to check QB Teddy Bridgewater, LB Marcus Smith and S Calvin Pryor. Many expect Bridgewater to be an early pick, but there is talk in NFL circles that he could slide into the 20s or even the 2nd round. Geno Smith part 2? Would the Eagles have interest in him? I prefer the idea of him sliding and some other team trading up to get pick 22 to take him.

Pryor could be an Eagles target at 22. Smith is either a 2nd or 3rd round target.

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